Chuck Barris, the beloved host of the zany 1970s amateur talent competition TV series “The Gong Show,” died Tuesday. He was 87.
Along with producing “The Dating Game” and “The Newlywed Game,” Barris also wrote a hit autobiography titled “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” which went on to become a 2002 movie directed by George Clooney starring Sam Rockwell.
He died of natural causes in his home in Palisades, New York, according to a statement from his family to TheWrap.
The energetic host was also renowned for writing the pop song “Palisades Park,” a hit for Freddy Cannon, and follow-up books “Bad Grass Never Dies” and “Della: A Memoir of My Daughter,” about the death of his only child from drug abuse.
Born Charles Hirsch Barris in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Barris got his break on TV with NBC before working backstage on “American Bandstand.”
He was then promoted to the daytime programming division at ABC in Los Angeles and went on to work on some of the most successful game shows of the ’60s and ’70s.
In 1980, he starred in and directed “The Gong Show Movie,” which was box office failure, and far less “zany” than the original series.
Barris claimed to have worked as a CIA assassin in his memoir, “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” a claim that the intelligence agency denied. The subsequent 2002 film marked Clooney’s directorial debut and was written by Charlie Kaufman with Rockwell playing Barris. It also featured Julia Roberts, Drew Barrymore, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Rutger Hauer.
Barris is survived by his wife of 16 years, the former Mary Clagett. In lieu of flowers, it is suggested that donations be made to the New York Police Foundation.